I probably expend too much mental energy bemoaning the illiteracy (as well as innumeracy, but that's another post) of "the young," as well as the now middle-aging forty-somethings who haven't been forced by a scary job market into learning to write well.
But there's at least one place that I can echo the Bible verse (taking it completely out of context of course), "...and a little child shall lead them." That place is the space, not spaceS, between sentences.
Old habits die hard. But some of those habits need to die, and one of those is the tendency that we Boomers have of placing two spaces rather than one after a period or a colon. Never mind that most people can't use colons (not to mention their offspring semicolons) properly...at least if you're over forty you've always remembered that they require a separation of two spaces.
Give it up, friends! Our kids have something to teach us here...you won't catch THEM wasting extra spaces after periods. Of course, you won't catch them wasting vowels when they write "ppl" but I'm not advising you mimic them in text-speak. Again, that's another post.
In looking for a succinct explanation of the rationale for the one-space standard, I came across this:
Much has changed along the journey from typewriters to setting type on computers. Still, there are a number of typewriting conventions that are no longer relevant but which stubbornly refuse to go away. At the top of this list is the practice of putting two spaces between sentences. Forget about tolerating differences of opinion: typographically speaking, typing two spaces before the start of a new sentence is absolutely, unequivocally wrong.
Why We Do It
Why is typing a double space after the end of a sentence such a common practice? And why do so many writers still deliver copy this way? The answer: typing class! This is how most of us were taught to type (and still are, in many cases). The two-space habit is based on the limitations of typewriters; specifically, of typewriter fonts.
Finish reading here: Double Spaces Between Sentences...NOT!
[Just in case some of you die-hard typing class aficionados think I'm cherry-picking my sources, just try Googling "spaces between sentences" and see how many sources you can find who still want you to adhere to 1950's standards in spacing.]
I spend the first few minutes of every proofreading job just checking for illegitimate spaces between sentences, and sometimes in the second round of proofing a document, these bad boys have miraculously regenerated themselves! Come on, folks, help me out here by extinguishing this outdated habit...it really only takes a few days to overcome if you type a lot. Follow your kids' examples in this, and you'll save your proofreader time and heartache. (What? You don't have a proofreader? Click on my email on the right sidebar ;-) )